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CDAO’s journey to AI at scale begins

The Department of Defense’s new Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO) which achieved its full operating capability on June 1 is targeting October 1, 2022 to achieve full administrative alignment of personnel and resources.

The CDAO was launched in February this year to strengthen and integrate data, artificial intelligence, and digital solutions in the DOD in order to enable the Department to “become a digital and artificial intelligence (Al)-enabled enterprise capable of operating at the speed and scale necessary to preserve military advantage.”

“Moreover, CDAO will selectively scale proven digital and Al-enabled solutions for enterprise and joint use cases as well as surge digital services for rapid response to crises and emergent challenges,” observed CDAO in a press statement. The new CDAO is kind of DOD’s central platform for AI that oversees teams at several offices, including the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), and the Defense Digital Service (DDS) etc.

The purpose and role of the CDAO to strengthen the Department’s efforts to leverage AI and machine learning (ML) technologies were also discussed at the DOD Digital and AI Symposium held on June 7-8 2022. During the two-day virtual event thought leaders from across the national security enterprise discussed themes critical to accelerating the Department’s adoption of data, analytics, and AI to generate decision advantage.

In the words of John Sherman, the DOD Chief Information Officer (CIO) who was in conversation with Dr Craig Martell, the new chief digital and AI officer, the CDAO was established to ‘create decision advantage for the department from the boardroom to the battlefield.’ The two Defense officials talked about CDAO at some length describing the enterprise’s purpose and the challenges particularly the one related to tech talent deficit.

While the two Defense officials stressed the urgent need to bridge the talent gap, the CIO also dropped a hint to work in partnership with CDAO on “new digital workforce strategy” to address the challenge related to tech talent shortage.

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